Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Orphans’ Decree (Gezerat ha-Yetomim)
(643 words)

The Orphans’ Decree, the reinstatement by Imam Yaḥyā (r. 1918–1948) of an older Zaydī law, required the conversion to Islam of Jewish orphans in Yemen. It was enforced only sporadically during his reign.

The term Orphans’ Decree (Heb. Gezerat ha-Yetomim) refers to the reinstatement of a Zaydī law in Yemen requiring the conversion of orphaned Jewish children to Islam. The law had been implemented in previous centuries but had not been enforced by the Ottomans during the period that they controlled the Yemeni highlands in the late nineteenth and ea…

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Ari Ariel, “Orphans’ Decree (Gezerat ha-Yetomim)”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 30 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_SIM_000659>
First published online: 2010

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